At the height of the tumultuous developments taking place in
Central and Eastern Europe in the ninth century, two Greek
missionaries from Thessalonica came to the fore. Through their work
of acculturation among the Slavs, these brothers Constantine-Cyril
and Methodius wrought far-reaching and lasting changes upon
European life. This book looks back over the life and work of these
two figures and analyzes their ecclesiastical and cultural mission.
Life in ninth-century Thessalonica was strongly affected by the
presence of Slav raiders presenting a problem for the Empire. To
deal with it the Byzantine policymakers devised the Slavonic
project and invited the brothers to play a part in it. They
embarked upon careers in the service of the Church and the State,
undertaking missions of vital importance to both. Their presence in
the Crimea was closely bound up with several aspects of Byzantium's
ecclesiastical policy and programme of acculturation, as also with
the Russians' first encounter with Christianity. Working
intensively, Cyril and Methodius created an alphabet for the Slavs
and gave them the written word on a high intellectual level. In
presenting the Slavs with an alphabet and the written word, the
brothers transmitted to them the world; and thus it was in Cyril
and Methodius' time, and thanks to their work, that Great Moravia
reached the height of its vigour and prosperity as a central
European state. The Cyrillo-Methodian tradition lived on, spreading
out among the Slavic peoples and laying the foundations of their
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